The open roads of America have given artists, writers, and photographers inspiration for hundreds of years. For some, the escapism of empty, expansive highways offers solace; for others, the new places to discover and people to meet bring epiphany experiences; and for some the change of scenery allows them to simply continue to practice their craft, newly invigorated by fresh subjects. Our On The Road series explores the American road trips made by Magnum photographers in order to understand why the idea of road tripping across America has captured the imagination of so many.
For Welsh Magnum photographer David Hurn, who first joined the agency in 1965, the opportunity to travel across Arizona on numerous occasions between 1979 and 2001 provided a total departure from his usual surroundings. Despite being thousands of miles away from Cardiff in Wales – 5,048 to be exact – Hurn found himself drawn to photographing people as they went about their daily lives. In Arizona, Hurn observed all-American pursuits like cheerleading, rounding up wild horses, and marching bands, as well as the quirks of the lives of ordinary citizens of the state, as he visited a Dolly Parton lookalike competition, a fraternity dance and a ladies only club where ladies are entertained by nearly-nude male dancers. Continue reading.